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History of the Philippines

Banaue Rice Terraces
Discover the beauty of the Philippines and its history.

The Philippines sits in the southeast part of Asia. It has a strategic location and has one of the richest natural resources in Asia. Because of this, other foreign countries have colonized or have tried to colonize the Philippines, giving the Philippines its rich history. Among these countries was Spain. Most of the history of the Philippines was molded by Spain during its more than 300 years of rule.

The Spanish era, known as the Spanish colonial period, started in 1521, when Magellan first discovered the Philippines, and ended in 1898, when Spanish rule was finally removed. Under Spanish rule, the Philippines was greatly influenced by Spanish culture while retaining the unique Filipino culture as well.

Spain introduced Christianity to the Filipinos. Though Christianity was something new to the Filipinos, they unquestionably embraced and followed it as their own. The heads of the church known as friars preached to the Filipino people. This gave birth to Filipino marriage culture and traditions. During this time, there was a union between the church and the state and the church had equal bearing on the country as the state.

Filipino women, due to Christianity, became more conservative and meek. The unique traits that make Filipino women who they are are mostly due to the influence of Spain.

Spain built churches and fortresses that, up to now, withstood the test of time. While land ownership of Filipinos used to be communal, Spain introduced private land ownership. Spanish authorities then congregated these private landowners into villages, towns, and provinces so as to make them easier to keep an eye on and preach Christianity to. This is where the Philippines adapted the “barangay” system and developed more towns and provinces.

Even after Spanish rule, the Philippines retained much of the Spanish influence in the form of structures, the language used, and even in names, painting a colorful history for the Philippines.

This brief introduction to Philippine history will surely bring out your curiosity to learn more about Filipino culture and Filipino values and traits.

The Country’s Rich Heritage

The Philippines has a rich heritage that you and your loved ones can discover. These sites are a crucial part of the Philippine economy as they play an important role in tourism in the Philippines. Here are a few heritage sites that you can check out while you are in the country:

  • Baroque Churches
  • Baroque churches can be spotted all over the country. These churches feature Baroque-style architecture and were built during the Spanish era. These churches are the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, the Santa Maria Church in Ilocos Sur, the Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, and the Miagao Church in Iloilo.

  • The Historic Town of Vigan
  • Vigan is a town where it is said that “time stood still.” The town, from its roads to its massive mansions, looks like a “piece of Spain.” This is because most of Vigan has been untouched since the Spanish era and has been preserved through time. The streets are made of cobblestone and the houses are built in typical Spanish fashion. Horse carriages are still a prominent form of transportation in the city, adding to its historical authenticity.

  • The Rice Terraces
  • The Rice Terraces found in the Cordillera region, which is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is well known for the ingenuity of farmers in planting rice along the mountain slopes. These massive and majestic “steps” are truly a beauty to behold. This extensive network of terraces is approximately 1,500 meters above sea level and covers an area of approximately 10,360 square kilometers.

  • Tubbataha Reef
  • life comprised of 80% coral covered with over 376 species of fish. This pristine ecosystem is a favorite diving spot for tourists and professional divers alike.

  • Mount Makiling
  • Located in Laguna, Mount Makiling is a dormant volcano that is said to be full of mystery. The mountain is said to be guarded by the diwata (fairy) Maria Makiling. The mountain has an elevation of 1,090 m above sea level and is surrounded by a lush forest. The mountain is considered to be sacred by many pilgrims.

  • The Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa
  • The subterranean river in Puerto Princesa is a river system that flows below the ground. The underground limestone cavern that the river has created is riddled with stalactites and has a diverse biosphere of animals from the nearby mountains and forests.

These heritage sites are reason enough why you should travel to the Philippines. These set of Philippine history facts is just the tip of the iceberg. As the Philippines is a big archipelago that is waiting to be discovered, there should be no reason for you not to visit the country and discover its rich and diverse culture and heritage.

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